Urgent Letter sent from IUCN Species Survival Commission to Mexican Authorities to correct false information about vaquita decline
Last week, the IUCN Species Survival Commission sent a letter (see version in Spanish, and English) to the Secretaries of the Mexican Navy, Environment, and Agriculture and Fisheries authorities, to counter false allegations that vaquitas are going extinct because of a change in salinity within the vaquita habitat. According to the allegations, shark predation and osmoregulation failure are the causes of the vaquita’s precipitous population decline. No scientific evidence (in the form of peer-reviewed scientific articles or data) has been provided to support these allegations and the SSC acted quickly to dispel the rumours, and make clear that the only immediate threat to the species is accidental mortality in gillnets. The letter’s main objective was to emphasize this, and to do so quickly, as March is the peak of the totoaba poaching season when entanglement risk to vaquitas is greatest. It requests that Mexican authorities take immediate action to reinstate net-removal activities, which are currently on hold, as soon as possible. Scientific evidence to refute the allegations is given in the letter.